For those of you who have hit that forty-plus stage of life you will be familiar with the talk about bone health and hot flushes but have you found yourself in a room forgetting what you went in there to do, or unable to remember even a single thing without writing it down. I am afraid that the hormone roller coaster does contribute to the mental fuzziness you are feeling. However you are not alone cognitive decline and dementia is on the rise and a look at the stats makes gloomy reading, but the good news is there is allot you can do to help slow that rate of decline down and even improve your brain function. The current UK and global stats for dementia and cognitive decline are frighteningly high, 850,000 people are estimated to be living with dementia in the UK and 1 in 3 people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their life time. I am sure you will surprised to learn that the dementias are now the leading cause of death in the UK. However this is not isolated to UK and The World Health Organisation estimate that the global number of deaths due to dementia will increase by 40% from 2015 to 2030.
So the big question is - what has happened in the way that we live, what we are eating, and our environment to cause this global trend of increase in dementia. Africa has the lowest incidence of dementia, followed by Asia, Europe and then America, and so it would appear the more developed the country and the further we are from our original human habitat and nutrition and the more exposed we are to environmental pollutants and processed foods, the worse the situation.
Can lifestyle and nutritional interventions slow down cognitive decline? The good news is that I think the answer is unequivocally YES - there are definitely things that you can do regarding your lifestyle and your nutrition that will support cognitive health.
The key elements that support brain health are:
Check out The MIND diet www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-studies-on-the-mediterranean-diet and make sure that your gut health is in tip top condition too.
Stimulus & challenge
It appears that we have the ability to create new neurons in response to new situations or challenges for all of our lives SO you can teach an old dog new tricks!!
Rest & calm
Sleep is vital in the prevention of dementia www.sciencenews.org/article/sleep-brain-alzheimers-plaques-protein.
Lowering your toxic load
Consciously avoid exposure to environmental toxins (skincare, eat organic).
Movement & exercise
Increase blood flow and therefore oxygenation of the brain.
Love, community, connection, faith and purpose all enhance oxytocin production which helps improve brain function.
To find out more about how to live longer and better check out www.bluezones.com
BRAIN BOOSTING SMOOTHIE
½ cup blueberries
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
½ cup water
Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz together until delicious and smooth!
AVACADO - This green powerhouse is packed with monosaturated fats or “good” fats, helping to keep blood sugar levels steady and your skin glowing. It contains both vitamin K and folate, preventing blood clots in the brain (protecting against stroke) as well as help improving cognitive function, especially both memory and concentration. They are also rich in vitamin B and vitamin C, which aren’t stored in your body and need to be replenished daily. Plus, they have the highest protein and lowest sugar content of any fruit. Adding them to your smoothie also makes it smooth and creamy!
BLUEBERRIES - Blueberries are extremely high in antioxidants, and are packed with vitamin C and vitamin K and fiber. Because of their high levels of gallic acid, blueberries are especially good at protecting our brains from degeneration and stress.
WALNUTS - It turns out that eating walnuts can keep you from going nuts, a few walnuts a day can improve your cognitive health. Their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals also improve mental alertness. The vitamin E in the nuts can also help ward off Alzheimer’s.